Low self esteem.
Lack of being able to self generate feelings of self worth.
Fear of doing things that make other people upset, angry or disappointed.
Difficulty prioritizing oneself.
Trouble feeling motivated to get ahead in life.
These are some of the symptoms of C-PTSD from growing up with a narcissistic parent. Your subconscious brain is programmed very early about your identity, and your role in the family and your place in the world.
Associations are deep in the subconscious.
If you do not comply with the other person, there will be consequences to pay. If you cause someone to become upset , you will pay dearly.
People from more health families learn to look out for themselves. You learned that in order to protect yourself, you have to look out for others.
People from functional families were taught to be in touch with their own feelings and to love themselves.
If you were the child of a narcissist, you were taught to defend against the wrath f the narcissist by not expressing your own feelings. Eventually you began to have trouble identifying what you want at all.
As an adult this wiring in your brain keeps you from taking care of yourself properly.
You still have that hyper-vigilance that there is a threat of danger when someone near you is not getting their way.
You may have a fear of being abandoned by the people you love, if you consider your own needs to be equal to theirs. The longer you cater to the desires of other people, in a relationship, the more they come to expect that treatment from you.
People around you can become conditioned to expect you to always agree, always go along with them, and never challenge them.
One of the many problems of this “people pleaser” behavior is that it attracts narcissists and predators. Narcissists and psychopaths want easy prey or at least a victim that had obvious emotional wounds that they can use to use against you.
If you have never practiced standing up for yourself, then you have no idea how to do this, and you fear the consequences of doing so. What would happen to your relationships if you said “no” to someone?
What would happen to your world of you began to prioritize your own needs? What consequences would follow if you believed that your needs and ideas were just as valuable as those of the people in your life?
Well, you can see the people in the world who are not afraid to say “no.” You interact with them all the time. They say “no” to you all the time. These people are not all in the same category.
There are people who do what they want all the time. They never let people cross their boundaries. In fact, they cross over into your world and stomp all over your rights and invade your boundaries all the time.
These are the narcissists. You may have a fear of becoming like that. You do not want to become the parent that emotionally abused you. The very person that caused much of your difficulty in getting what you want out of life.
But there is another category of people who stand up for themselves. These are people that have healthy boundaries but still respect the rights of other people. They do not exploit and manipulate others.
They express their feelings and let people know what they want. They go after the things they want out of life and they consider their personal dreams, desires and emotions to be a high priority.
These are not narcissists. They do not use aggressive, emotionally manipulative communication. They do not covertly try to get emotional reactions from you, in order to exploit and control you.
There is a line between assertive and aggressive. You are being assertive when you express what you do and do not want.
You are being aggressive when you make it clear that you do not care what the other person wants. You undermine, lie to, and gaslight people to get your way.
Being assertive and having healthy boundaries does not have to injure other people.
You are not a bad person for looking out for yourself.
You are not a narcissist if you care about your own feelings and needs. You are a normal human being.
I will write about this topic again in the future. Please leave comments below about a specific question or particular problem that you have.
Give me some ideas about problems of having C-PTSD (complex PTSD) that you are dealing with.
I want to hear from adult children of narcissistic parents. Also from anyone that grew up under the heavy cloud of a narcissist in some capacity. It is not always a parent.
Also, if you feel that your ability to move forward and get momentum in life has been affected by narcissistic abuse, either during childhood or as an adult, please leave me any ideas about questions I can address in a future post.